If you have entered recovery after a long struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, you may feel like you have crossed the finish line. Recovery is a long journey and relapsing happens to a lot of people. Whether you find you have relapsed after a short period of time or after years of doing well, recovery after relapse can happen again for anyone.
We’ve prepared 6 tips to help if you need to get your feet planted firmly back in recovery.
1. Recognize That Relapse May Be a Part of Recovery
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that between 40-60% of people with substance use disorders relapse at some point. This statistic factors into why most treatment professionals view recovery as a lifelong process. They recognize that many of their patients in private or residential treatment will end up relapsing, and they have plans in place to help them regain their sobriety when this happens.
Many people who have overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol regard themselves as always in recovery, rather than recovered. This owes to the fact that a person must be vigilant about their recovery, even long after their sober date. Relapse after recovery doesn’t happen to everyone, but for those who experience it, it’s important to understand that recovery after relapse can happen, too.
2. Be Honest About Your Relapse
When it comes to addiction, ignoring the reality of how bad things have gotten plays a large part in how bad things can get. Recovery after relapse can happen for anyone but first, you have to be honest with yourself about the fact that you have lost ground. Similar to the adage that admitting that you have a problem is the first step in recovery, it’s also something you have to do in order to end a relapse.
3. Use Your Support Group
Talking to people who intimately understand your position and can offer advice often proves helpful. If you are in a support group, bring up the fact that you are experiencing a relapse. Many people in addiction support groups have experienced relapses and then entered recovery again.
The group leader and members can offer you insight into their own relapses and help you formulate a plan to deal with yours. Often just having it affirmed that you are not alone can help give you a boost in morale. You may find that down the line when you are strongly back in recovery, you can provide support for someone who is dealing with relapse and needs advice.
4. Work Your Resources
Think about what helped you stay in recovery before the relapse happened. Using the same tactics that worked before increases the odds that recovery after relapse is just a matter of time and effort. If you used to attend therapy or a support group but left, start going again. Having a therapist or support group members offer advice and support can have a huge impact on how quickly you return to sobriety and stay there.
Being proactive in these ways brings other people into your circle and lets them know what you’re up against. They can offer needed support, as well as help hold you accountable when necessary. Trying to solve your problem in silence only increases the stress you experience. It also makes it easier to keep hiding the relapse and postpone addressing it.
5. Avoid Triggering Situations
You know what people and situations trigger your urge to use drugs and alcohol. Make a list of these triggers and commit yourself to avoiding them. If you have family members or friends in your circle who engage in the use or abuse of drugs or alcohol, make an effort to avoid them. Trips to bars and social events that feature substance use should be put on hold.
Pick a trusted person and ask them to do sweeps of your home to look for alcohol or drugs. Knowing that someone will be coming by who has permission to look around often provides the impetus not to keep tempting substances in the home.
6. Return to Treatment
If you realize that you have relapsed and you cannot find your way to correcting the course, it’s time to talk about returning to treatment. You can speak with your doctor, therapist, or another clinician who treats you and discuss what your next step should be.
If you attended a previous detox, residential, or another type of treatment program, contact them for guidance. They can provide you with information about returning to their program and any specific treatments they offer clients who deal with relapse. You may also want to investigate programs you have not tried to see if a different approach broadens your ability to stay in recovery.
Remember that returning to a treatment program does not mean you have failed at recovery. It means you are one of a large number of people who relapse, which is nothing to feel shame about. A person who recognizes they are in need of help and takes steps to get it is a person showing great strength and bravery.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Southern California
If you or someone you love has experienced a relapse, Gratitude Lodge has treatment options that can help you get back your recovery. We provide detox, outpatient, and inpatient services in a pet-friendly environment. We also treat any co-occurring mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
Contact Gratitude Lodge in Southern California today and let us help you turn your relapse around.